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Sox to be active at Winter Meetings

Sox to be active at Winter Meetings

Club needs

SLUGGER -- No less an authority than David Ortiz said he would like to be flanked in the lineup by another 30-homer slugger. Mark Teixeira continues to be the most appealing option on the free-agent market, but he's also the most expensive, and the most sought-after. There would also be the matter of finding a position for him on a Boston team that has Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell at the corners, and Ortiz as the DH.

STARTER -- The Red Sox are also seeking another upper-echelon arm to put in the rotation with the big three of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka. A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe are the free agents who have most frequently been associated with the Red Sox. Jake Peavy could be the best option of all, and the Padres are actively trying to trade him. However, Peavy, who has no-trade rights, would rather stay in the National League.
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CATCHER -- Whether or not free agent Jason Varitek winds up back in the fold, the Red Sox will look long and hard to improve their catching situation this winter. The Rangers have a surplus of it in their system, so a trade could be in the works at some point.

Who they can or need to trade

SS Julio Lugo: With the emergence of Jed Lowrie, Lugo, who didn't play in the second half of 2008 after tearing his quad, could be on his way out. The problem is that he has two years and $18 million left on his deal.

3B Mike Lowell: Lowell has been a team leader, a run producer, a World Series MVP and an overall class act since coming to Boston in 2006. So why would the Red Sox trade him? Well, if they truly want Teixeira, they need to open up a spot in the lineup. It would likely be difficult to trade Lowell until he plays in exhibition games and proves that his right hip is recovered from surgery.

Top prospects

RHP Clay Buchholz; RHP Michael Bowden; 1B Lars Anderson; RHP Daniel Bard.

Big contracts they might unload

Lugo.

Arbitration-eligible

Youkilis; RHP Jonathan Papelbon; LHP Javier Lopez; RHP Manny Delcarmen.

Payroll summation

The Red Sox had a payroll of just over $130 million last season. Manny Ramirez -- $20 million salary in 2008 -- is now off the books. The same goes for Curt Schilling ($8 million). Boston also alleviated some payroll when center fielder Coco Crisp was dealt to the Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez. The Red Sox will again have one of the highest payrolls in the game and should have some payroll flexibility going into the winter.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }